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surveillance



  • Beverly Gage on J. Edgar Hoover—Enemy of Democracy

    Beverly Gage's book explains the FBI director's longevity not to dark arts of blackmail and secret-keeping, but to a more straightforward and disturbing explanation: many Americans shared Hoover's reactionary views and liked how he cracked down on dissenters. 



  • Are Americans Ready for their Neighbors to Turn Them In?

    From abortion to classroom teaching, state laws are increasingly incentivizing people to report other members of the community for violating new restrictions. Experts say this has worked in the past to erode trust and enable further authoritarianism. 



  • The Coming Pregnancy Surveillance State Will Bring "Homeland Security" to Women's Bodies

    by Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz

    The Dobbs ruling puts longstanding racist and nationalist beliefs that white women's reproductive labor is the price of their citizenship, and punitive controls on women of color, on collision course with the modern capacity of digital surveillance, threatening the criminalization of any miscarried pregnancy. 



  • Are You Ready to Be Surveilled Like a Sex Worker?

    by Olivia Snow

    A moral panic over sex trafficking has justified the development of an extensive electronic infrastructure of surveillance and punishment of sex workers. These are the tools other women can expect to have used against them if they seek (or seek to learn about) abortions or associate online with others who do.



  • How the Public Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Wiretapping

    by Andrew Lanham

    Brian Hochman shows that the white backlash to civil rights and racial justice protests helped to undermine longstanding civil libertarian opposition to electronic surveillance and normalize the idea of the government spying on Americans. 



  • The Islamophobia of Domestic Security and the Capitol Insurrection

    by Juan Cole

    Perhaps if the FBI hadn't been spending the last 20 years spying on American Muslims the organizing of white Christian nationalists leading to to the January 6 assault on the Capitol would't have been an apparent surprise to the authorities. 



  • Facial Surveillance Has Always Been Flawed

    by Amanda Levendowski

    Today, artificial intelligence startups are scraping the web to build massive face-recognition databases, without any pretense of consent by the public. The technology may be new, but the intrusive assertion of surveillance has a long history. 



  • Prison Tech Comes Home: Tenants and Residents in the Surveillance State

    by Erin McElroy, Meredith Whittaker and Nicole E. Weber

    Landlords have combined technologies developed for screening tenants in the 1970s with more recent digital surveillance and facial recognition systems developed in prisons to dramatically increase control over their tenants during an affordable housing crisis. 



  • What the FBI Had on Grandpa

    by Molly Jong-Fast

    "I never considered my grandfather to be a danger to the republic, but J. Edgar Hoover disagreed." The FBI surveilled writer Howard Fast extensively, though, as he wrote in his autobiography, "the eleven hundred pages detailed every—or almost every—decent act I had performed in my life."



  • The Dark Side of Campus Efforts to Stop COVID-19

    by Grace Watkins

    While colleges have a legitimate interest in suppressing virus transmission on campus, it is dangerous to expand the surveillance powers of campus police. 



  • Why Filming Police Violence Has Done Nothing to Stop It

    The evidence suggests body cameras and other technological solutions to police violence are inadequate because the police are protected against consequences even if their misdeeds are recorded. 



  • Canada approved secret phone-tapping during Cold War

    The surveillance program, codenamed “Picnic,” began as an emergency effort during the Korean War, but federal agencies collaborated with telephone companies in 1954 to continue the wiretaps, says Dennis Molinaro, who teaches history at Ontario’s Trent University.



  • Invasion of the Data Snatchers

    by Catherine Crump and Matthew Harwood

    Big Data and the Internet of Things means the surveillance of everything.